A group of retired military officers who call themselves Mission: Readiness released a report on Tuesday that contents fatty school lunches bear a lot of the blame for the fact that 9 million young adults, or 27 percent of Americans ages 17 to 24, are too overweight to join the military. They maintain that this isn’t just bad for our kids, it’s bad for national security. “When over a quarter of young adults are too fat to fight, we need to take notice,” retired Navy Rear Adm. James Barnett Jr., a member of the group, said.
Mission: Readiness was on Capitol Hill this week advocating for the passage of a new school lunches bill that aims to make school lunches healthier. This isn’t the first time that America’s military has gotten involved in the politics of school lunches. During the Second World War the military had the opposite problem. Many recruits were rejected because of stunted growth due to inadequate nutrition. After WWII, the military pushed Washington to instate the national school lunch program so that children would grow up healthy enough to join up if they wanted to.
This latest school lunch bill, which is currently waiting on a Senate vote, would provide healthier options for all foods in schools, including vending machine items. The bill would spend $4.5 billion more over 10 years for nutrition programs. Whether or not you want to see more young people joining the armed forces, helping our kids grow up healthy enough to be whatever they want to be when they grow up is hard to argue with. Giving them healthier lunches is a great first step.